Benign Blood Disorders: Managing Benign Blood Disorders at Memorial Sloan Kettering

Pictured: Gerald Soff & Rekha Parameswaran Blood problems such as clots and anemia can complicate care but are carefully monitored. Hematologists Gerald Soff and Rekha Parameswaran confer with nurse Janeen Crowley (center) and session assistant Jaime Garofil (right).

Having a benign blood disorder, or experiencing a blood complication, can make cancer treatment more challenging. Cancer and its treatment often increase the risk of developing problems such as blood clots, bleeding disorders, and anemia. In some cases, patients have a preexisting blood disorder that can be made worse by chemotherapy.

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we integrate the prevention and treatment of blood complications into your overall care plan. A team of physicians specializes in both managing blood disorders and treating cancer. Our Hematology Service works closely with your primary treatment team — no matter what type of cancer you have — to identify and manage any blood complications that occur during your treatment. We will:

  • assess your individual risk of developing blood problems
  • develop a coordinated treatment plan that prevents blood complications
  • diagnose and manage any blood problems that arise during your treatment
  • ensure that your cancer treatment is not compromised by a blood complication
  • perform additional blood tests during your regular follow-up visits if you experienced a complication during treatment

Our team also includes specially trained nurses who carefully monitor your condition throughout your treatment, respond swiftly to any blood problems that may arise, and administer medications to help manage blood conditions.

Preventing blood-related complications during cancer treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation to learn about your family history and any preexisting blood conditions, and to check for any symptoms that might indicate a blood problem. Blood tests measure your blood cell counts and your ability to form blood clots before you begin cancer treatment. This information helps your cancer care team to plan your treatment in a way that prevents blood problems. While you are receiving cancer therapy, you will have additional tests to monitor your blood and identify any blood clots that may have developed.

Having blood specialists on staff is critical to preventing conditions from becoming life threatening, increasing your comfort during cancer therapy, and allowing you to complete your treatment with as few interruptions as possible.